Nursing home abuse takes many forms, with some less obvious than others. So if your loved one is being abused, you may not notice it at first.
Physical Injuries, Repeated falls, Sores or strange marks around the genitals, Unexplained cuts, bruises, or broken bones, Emotional Changes, Being scared of particular residents or staff members, Complaining about treatment from staff members, Increased signs of anxiety and/or depression.
Other Signs: Frequent illnesses or infections, Loss of finances, Malnourishment and/or dehydration, Poor hygiene, Untreated bedsores or other wounds.
Since the warning signs of nursing home abuse can vary greatly, it is important to have a keen eye when visiting your loved one. Some residents may not speak out about their abuse if they are too scared to do so or they cannot communicate due to a physical or mental condition such as dementia.
Outside of nursing home abuse, staff members can also harm residents indirectly by neglecting their needs.
Nursing home neglect is a pattern of failures or errors that cause significant harm to a resident. And it can be just as harmful — or just as deadly — as nursing home abuse itself.
For example, a paralyzed woman with dementia was left in her own urine at a North Carolina nursing home facility every day for a week. The woman filed a complaint with the state — making a total of 21 complaints against the nursing home since 2011.
According to the CDC, roughly 70% of all nursing homes are for-profit. These nursing homes are typically run by companies that own multiple senior care facilities.
The main goal of a nursing home should be to help seniors age gracefully and safely. However, some nursing home companies focus on making money above all else.
A 2019 study published in the medical journal Gerontology found that seniors in for-profit nursing homes showed more signs of neglect, and the facilities themselves were of poorer quality.
Further, a 2018 report from the New York Times found that some nursing home companies outsource aspects of their care to other companies they own. This allows corporate leaders to use nursing home funds to essentially pay themselves.
Nearly 75% of nursing homes in the United States outsource some aspects of their care to a related company, according to the Times.
Across the nation, nursing home abuse laws have been established by state, local, and federal governments to prevent residents from being hurt and to bring abusers to justice.
Nursing home abuse laws vary from state to state. Some states have established elder or nursing home abuse task forces to keep residents safe. Other state laws allow hidden cameras in nursing homes to catch abusers on camera.
On a broader scope, federal nursing home abuse laws mandate that nursing homes must report and investigate whenever allegations of abuse or neglect are reported to the state.
Federal and state laws continue to evolve today — and, with the help of law enforcement and attorneys, victims of nursing home abuse can seek justice.
Those who have suffered from abuse may want to consult a nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss their legal options.
When seniors enter a nursing home, they expect — and deserve — the highest quality care possible. Sadly, nursing home abuse is an all-too-common problem that devastates victims and their families every year.
Though police action may put abusers behind bars, victims may still be left with high medical bills or drained finances. This is where nursing home abuse attorneys can be very helpful.
These attorneys have seen the horrors of abuse first-hand through previous clients. They ultimately want to help victims recover from the harm done.
Gather evidenceFile a lawsuit against nursing home corporations, administrators, and staff membersHelp victims receive financial compensation for medical bills and other expensesThrough a nursing home abuse lawsuit, families may receive a cash payout to cover lost savings, medical bills, and other expenses. Nursing home abuse lawyers can work on their client’s behalf to help them receive the highest amount of compensation possible in the shortest amount of time.
Nursing home abuse is a heinous and inexcusable act. It should be addressed and reported immediately to prevent more harm from being done.
To report nursing home abuse, talk to your local police authorities. If your loved one still lives in the nursing home where they were abused, you may want to consider moving them somewhere else to protect their safety.